Art As Medicine

Can art be used as a means of therapy or treatment? We already have research suggesting that certain colors evoke certain emotions and feelings. We also have research suggestion that certain images and music may do the same thing. Is it possible that patients with minor behavioral issues could be helped by meditating over an image when they become sad or even angry? Or perhaps that sad music could be listened to to evoke low emotions and allow grieving, and then quickly followed by happier music to bring a person back to a positive state of mind?

  • I like this topic! I know, for example, shellshocked soldiers during WWI read Jane Austen novels to relieve their mental turmoil. The concept of having a healthy psyche which, in turn, leads to healthy recovery is a wonderful topic that I'd love to read more about. – Connor 9 years ago
  • I'm a music major, and several of my profs have mentioned the rise of music therapy. It's a rapidly growing field. Perhaps that could be part of this topic; is there a reason that art is being valued more and more as a type of therapy? – Laura Jones 9 years ago
  • I do believe the healing power of art. During my depression period, I started teaching myself watercolor and oil painting. When creating, you can focus on the present and allow yourself occupied by the color, brush strokes and images. You then forget the unpleasant past and uncertain future. You are so happy with the high productivity. Making arts can release your inner artist and enables you to get to know a new community. New way of seeing and thinking open your mind winder and make your heart bigger. In creating art work, you understand all kinds of emotions and want to let them out in a comfortable way. By doing art, I realize I have more aesthetic capacity and can see beauty in everything now...... Becoming an artist, awakening/seeking an authentic self ... – HappyNewYing 9 years ago
  • I stumbled upon this article that could help in your research of this topic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11403404/Art-does-heal-scientists-say-appreciating-creative-works-can-fight-off-disease.html I think it's a worthwhile topic best of luck if you choose to pursue it! – kaliveach 9 years ago
  • Something to note could also be the rise of therapeutic adult coloring books. – MichelleAjodah 8 years ago
  • Yes it can; there are degree programs in Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Drama Therapy - they are legitimate occupations (and require a lot of education - you have to have undergraduate degrees in psychology AND art/music/theatre, and then get a Master's or PhD in the particular therapy, so it can take up to a decade to get a license. There are also only 34 universities in the United States that offer EPAB-approved Art Therapy graduate degree programs, so they are hard to come by, even if you have the time to devote to them). Exploring specific strategies of these therapies (such as the possibilities you presented) is probably a better topic than asking if they exist. – Katheryn 8 years ago
  • As someone pursuing a bachelors degree in music therapy, I know – not even think – that music is healing. The field grows every day, with more people becoming more aware of what music therapy is all about. It is not the mere listening to music to lift spirits or playing music for others’ relaxation and enjoyment (though it does include these techniques, don’t get me wrong); it involves so much more, for example: creating music, movement to music, socialization, storytelling using music, and a combination of these. Even silence can be used if it is what the client responds to. Music itself is therapeutic, and when implemented in an intimate clinical setting with a trained professional, it only enhances the effect. From what I have read and seen of case studies, music can help people with depression, autism, dementia (this is a big one), and various physiological problems, to name a few. I’m not going to dwell upon what “officially” constitutes as music therapy (according to my textbooks), but I can say that every individual’s reaction to music is unique; no one situation is the same, and therefore, there is no one universal music therapy technique that everybody will respond to. Long story short, music is therapeutic and healing, but music therapy is so much more. – thiaxmusic 8 years ago

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